Saudi King Abdullah returned home after three months abroad for medical treatment on Wednesday and unveiled a series of benefits for citizens estimated to be worth $37 billion. The benefits include funding to offset high inflation, to help young unemployed people and to support families to get affordable housing and were offered as popular protests over poverty, corruption and repression hit many Arab countries. Television presenters wore scarves in the colours of the Saudi flag in coverage termed �the joy of a nation� in celebration of the king, who was standing when he first descended from his plane before taking to a wheelchair. Before his arrival, state media announced the action plan to help lower- and middle-income Saudis among the 18 million native population. The package included pay raise to offset inflation, unemployment benefits and affordable housing for families. Political stability in the top Opec producer is of global concern as Saudi Arabia controls more than a fifth of oil reserves, is a major holder of dollar assets and a vital regional US ally. The measures did not include political reforms such as elections to municipal councils demanded by liberals and opposition groups. The Gulf Arab state has no elected parliament or political parties. �I think it�s good but we need to see more reforms,� said a Saudi political analyst.�Reuters
By: Dawn News